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10 Great Landscape Plants - Artist® Blue

This article covers plants great for landscape plantings.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

This article covers plants great for landscape plantings.

I really wanted to call this series of articles "10 Plants Every Gardener Should Try in the Landscape," but this seemed a bit long for a title.  Whatever you call them these,10 plants should be great in landscapes in almost any climate.  They were chosen to be heat tolerant, to need limited to no supplemental water and to be easy to care for with no deadheading needed.  I've grown them all (most of them repeatedly) and love them!

  1. Artist®Blue Ageratum
  2. Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia
  3. Senorita Rosalita® Cleome
  4. Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus
  5. Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
  6. Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera
  7. Illusion® Midnight Lace Ipomoea
  8. Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana
  9. Snow Princess® Lobularia
  10. Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia

For those in the trenches working in garden centers across the world, I am guessing that the most asked about color is true blue.  Purple might be more popular (our research has repeatedly shown it to be the most popular answer when gardener's are asked for their favorite flower color), but since purple flowers are relatively easy to find I'm betting more people ask for true blue.  Well, there aren't really that many flowers that are real true blue Lobelia and Delphinium are the two that immediately come to mind - there are others but true blue certainly isn't common. 

Whether Artist® Blue is true blue or not I'll let you decide.  Some days I look at it and think definitely blue and other days I think it is more lavender-blue.  Still, it functions as a blue in the garden.  

Artist® Blue has a dense, mounded habit, is excellent in the landscape and also works in containers.  It has good heat tolerance, blooming through the summer at the Dallas Arboretum where Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture Research, loves it.  He's even used it as the bulk of the tail feathers of two large peacock topiaries that are featured prominently in the garden (both photos included here).

According to Jimmy, "Artist Blue and the Artist series are the only Ageratum that the Dallas Arboretum Trials Program promotes as being awarded one of our "FlameProof Plants"! It's an essential in my garden designs every year! It's tough enough to take a Texas summer, and as our motto says "If we can't kill it, no one can!"  I LOVE this plant!"

One of the reasons we love this plant is it is easy to to care for.  It doesn't need to be deadheaded - the plant will grow vigorously enough that it will "bury it's dead."  This simply means that by the time the flowers turn old and brown they will be completely buried under new growth and new flowers.  Deadheading won't increase either the number of blooms or the length of time it blooms, so be prepared to simply enjoy the plants in your garden.

The plants should maintain their shape all season on their own.  However, if the plants begin to look open or a bit ratty they can be trimmed back to shape, as needed.  After being trimmed back they should be back in bloom within a week.

In garden beds an application of controlled-release fertilizer or incorporation of compost should cover its nutrition needs.  During extended dry periods it may be necessary to use supplemental water, but under many conditions natural rainfall will suffice.

If you are using it in containers an application of controlled-release fertilizer should be sufficient to keep if happy through the summer.  If it starts to slow down in mid to late summer supplemental applications of water-soluble fertilizer will give it a boost.  In fact, for almost any annual regular fertilization, especially in containers, is one of the best things you can do for your plants.

The Artist®series has won numerous awards in trials around the country.  We send plants to over 45 trials around the U.S. and Canada each summer.  These trials are conducted at university or public gardens.  The trials are a great way to see how plants perform in your climate before buying those plants for your garden.

Vital Stats

Type:  Annual

Sun/Shade:  It prefers full sun - a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun a day

Height:  Short, 8-12 inches.

Spacing:  10 to 12 inches apart.

Habit:  Mounded, used as a filler plant for combination planters

Bloom Time:  Planting to hard frost.

 

Artist® Blue Ageratum hybrid 'Agsantis' USPP15,289, Can. 2050; Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Buddleia hybrid USPP19,991, CPBRAF; Senorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' USPP19,733, Can. 3290; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia' USPP17,567, Can. 2830; Dolce® Blackcurrant Heuchera hybrid 'PWHeu0109' USPP19,574, Can. 3774; Illusion Midnight Lace Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP-011MDNTLC' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana camara '2003.301' USPP19,706; Snow Princess Lobularia hybrid 'Inlbusnopr' USPPAF, CPBRAF; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' USPP17,730, Can. 2871

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